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Stray Aid & Rescue
Dedicated to pet overpopulation
prevention in South Florida since 2003
(954) 816-0799
Stray Aid & Rescue
  • Spay/Neuter Information

    Overpopulation results in increasingly larger numbers of homeless pets
    Overpopulation
    results in increasingly
    larger numbers of homeless pets

    Pet Overpopulation

    The animal population is exploding. Each year millions of
    unwanted pets are born and most are treated like “living
    garbage” and disposed of. The primary causes of pet
    euthanasia are the failure by owners to have their pets spayed
    or neutered and animals that are abandoned or relinquished
    to shelters because of obedience problems. This is tragic
    and reprehensible, but also preventable.

    The Procedure

    The procedure of removing the reproductive organs of either
    a male or a female animal is called neutering. Specifically,
    the procedure for females is call spaying. The procedure
    for males is called castration or altering, but is also loosely
    called neutering.

    The obvious reason for spaying and neutering is to prevent
    unwanted, accidental pregnancies. There are many more benefits,
    though, that are good for the pet as well as the owner.

    Females

    This preventive surgery can be performed as early as 2
    to 4 months of age. Recent scientific research shows evidence
    that a younger puppy or kitten does better with the anesthesia
    and the surgical process. Talk to your veterinarian about
    when your particular pet should be spayed. Many veterinarians
    still choose to perform this routine procedure at about 5
    to 6 months of age.

    For their own sakes, all female dogs or cats should be spayed.
    It does not matter if she will ever be allowed outdoors unsupervised,
    the physical benefits of an early spaying operation are so
    great that there is no valid reason not to have it performed.
    In addition, behavioral problems that are related to sexual
    drive are avoided in a spayed female pet.

    Males

    At around six or seven months of age, your male will become
    sexually mature. The operation is best performed when the
    animal is young, although it can be done at any age in a
    pet’s life. Neutering can be done as early as 2 months old.
    As with spaying, this procedure is now considered preventive
    surgery.

    Neutering does not change the male’s masculine appearance.
    He will still acquire his secondary sex characteristics,
    regardless of his age when the procedure is done.

    Castration doesn’t affect hunting ability or watchdog behavior.
    He most likely will be less aggressive in some areas, especially
    toward other males. As with altered females, male pets will
    not get fat if given a good, balanced diet and get enough
    exercise.

    More Information

    Benefits
    of Spaying Female Cats

    Physical Benefits of an Early Spay
    There simply is no truth to the old belief that a female
    pet should be allowed to have one heat or one litter
    before she’s spayed. There are no benefits to be gained
    from waiting and many to be gained by an early spaying
    operation.

    A female pet in heat will bleed. She will consequently spot
    the carpet and furniture. Owners who have indoor pets have
    to cover the furniture to avoid this spotting. Carpet also
    will need to be neutralized to remove the smell and the stain.
    Although there are little pads that can be worn with a strap,
    most pets find them uncomfortable and try to take them off.

    A female pet that is spayed before her first heat has a
    greatly reduced risk of developing ovarian, uterine, or breast
    cancer, the second most common malignancy in pets. In addition,
    she will never develop pyometra (an infection of the uterus).
    Pyometra can become seriously life-threatening and require
    an emergency spay operation. These infections very commonly
    occur in older, unspayed females.

    Of course, an early spay operation also prevents an unplanned,
    unwanted pregnancy. If your unspayed female puppy does become
    accidentally pregnant, it can be potentially damaging to
    her health, since she is very young. A six-month-old puppy
    is, in no way, suited for motherhood.

    As to the argument that spayed female pets always get fat,
    this is not necessarily true. It is true that spayed pets
    can be more prone to obesity, but that’s because as a female
    puppy nears physical maturity, she becomes somewhat less
    physically active and requires fewer calories for energy.
    Physical maturity often follows shortly after a spaying operation.
    Therefore, the spaying is often blamed if a puppy begins
    to put on weight. If you do not overfeed your pet and give
    her plenty of daily exercise, she will not gain weight. Without
    an appropriate exercise regimen, she will get fat, regardless
    of whether she’s been spayed or not.

    Behavior Benefits of an Early Spay
    During the stage in the heat cycle when a female is receptive
    toward males, she may attempt to escape from the house.
    She may also indulge in territorial urine marking, especially
    if there are other pets (male or female) in the household
    or immediate neighborhood.

    An unspayed female also may suffer from a disorder known
    as “false pregnancy” which mimics all of the physical
    and behavioral stages of pregnancy, even though there are
    no fertilized eggs. It is quite common in pets that are very
    dependent on their owners, and can occur even when no mating
    has taken place. Some females go through a false pregnancy
    every time they come into heat.

    A very troublesome side effect of having an unspayed female
    is the necessity of keeping her away from unwelcome unaltered
    males and keeping them away from her. Males will appear on
    your doorstep, hang around your yard, and fight one another.

    In addition to these problems, female cats and even some
    dogs may “cry.” You think your pet is in pain and
    take her to the vet only to find out she is in heat and looking
    for a mate.

    Benefits
    of Neutering Male Cats

    Physical Benefits of an Early Neuter
    Unaltered males are subject to a number of hormone-related
    medical problems as they age. They may develop prostate,
    perianal, and testicular tumors and cancers. Neutering
    greatly reduces the risk of these medical problems.

    Behavior Benefits of an Early Neuter
    Neutering is particularly effective as a preventive measure
    against a number of common behavioral problems.

    One aspect of male canine behavior is aggression towards
    other males. As a male reaches full physical and sexual maturity,
    he becomes increasingly more protective of what he considers “his” territory.
    His definition of “his” area tends to change, and
    the boundaries enlarge, until sometimes an entire square
    block or country mile falls within his territory.

    Often, owners are not aware of this until a tragedy occurs,
    and their male or another male is severely hurt or even killed. “But
    he’s always so gentle” is a common cry of an upset owner
    in these circumstances. And he is nice until another male
    invades property that he considers his own. Then his male
    territorial instinct overrides any social behavior he may
    have learned, and he defends his turf, sometimes to the death.

    Along with this instinct comes roaming behavior. A sexually
    active male must patrol the boundaries of his property and
    constantly widen them. In addition, he’s always on the lookout
    for receptive females and, if there is a female in heat within
    many miles, he’ll find her. Along with this comes the potential
    to be hit by a car or otherwise injured, or become lost.
    Often, a male hangs around the area for days on end, apparently
    forgetting that he even has a home. Terrible fights can occur
    when several males pursue a female in heat, even if she is
    confined indoors, and the resulting veterinarian bills may
    be staggering. Research shows us that of all the positive
    behavior changes that are a result of neutering, roaming
    shows the greatest degree of change.

    An unaltered male may indulge in territorial urine marking
    and urinating on every upright surface he can find. This
    is usually related either to a female coming into heat somewhere
    within his range or another male moving into the neighborhood.
    You may not be aware of either occurrence, but you soon will
    know it when your housetrained pet has suddenly “broken
    training” and is marking up your house. In the absence
    of other male animals, males may also take out their aggressive
    territorial protection on humans. Over-protectiveness of
    family members may manifest itself by his growling or nipping
    at visitors in your home.

    Other sexually related behaviors of male dogs can include
    mounting human legs, climbing up on people, and even knocking
    children down and climbing on top of them. This is especially
    frightening and dangerous if a dog is large.

    For male cats, a neutered male is less likely to spray (almost
    all unneutered male cats spray). They also yowl as if in
    terrible pain. You may think your cat is in pain and take
    it to the vet only to find out it is in search of a mate.

    All of these behaviors can usually be corrected by a combination
    of neutering and training, but it’s difficult to break a
    habit that has become ingrained.

    Neutering makes life more pleasant because it removes some
    of the behavioral traits with which people find it difficult
    to live and traits that may land the pet in a shelter.

    Spay/Neuter Surgery

    The operation itself is certainly not cruel, but a fairly
    simple and routine procedure that actually helps the pet.
    When done on a young animal, it entails at most one or two
    days of discomfort.

    Owners will be given instructions about withholding food
    and water to the pet prior to the surgery. Follow these directions
    carefully.

    Most veterinarians will give a thorough physical prior to
    the anesthesia. It often includes a blood test and urinalysis.
    These tests are necessary to make sure there aren’t underlying
    medical problems such as kidney or liver disease, diabetes
    or chronic infection that would put the patient at greater
    risk during surgery.

    For females, the ovaries and uterus will be removed, thus,
    eliminating the production of eggs. For males, the testes
    will be removed, thus, eliminating the source of sperm.

    After the operation, the animal will continue to be monitored.
    Some veterinarians choose to keep the animal overnight for
    observation, but most animals that go in the morning for
    surgery can go home late in the afternoon to rest and recuperate.

    Again, there will be specific instructions given to the
    owner about the care of the pet for the next several days.
    Follow these directions carefully and your pet will recover
    quickly and completely in a short while.

    Why Spaying and
    Neutering is Good For Everyone

    It’s good for your pet. It reduces the
    risk of certain reproductive cancers and diseases for both
    males and females. Spayed or neutered pets also generally
    live longer lives. For females, it eliminates the heat cycle
    and therefore, the nervousness, blood and unwelcome males.
    For males, it stops the mating desire, reduces mounting and
    the tendency to roam.

    It’s good for you. It is usually less expensive
    to license; a discount is given if your pet is spayed or
    neutered. It reduces the risk of unwanted litters. There
    will be no more problems with blood stains, males breaking
    into your yard, pets running away in search of a mate, and
    the job of taking care of and finding homes for an unwanted
    litter. Your pet will be happier, and so will you.

    It’s good for the community. Homeless pets
    often create serious problems. They destroy property, spread
    disease and cost a lot of money to control. It’s an agonizing
    job to euthanize animals because of irresponsible breeding.

    Reasons
    People Do Not Spay Or Neuter Their Pet

    “It would be too cruel to do that to my pet!”
    Your pet does not have the ability to hold a grudge
    against you because you made this decision. If your pet could
    talk, he/she would thank you for it!

    ” I’m afraid of putting my pet under anesthesia.
    Won’t it be painful?”
    Although neutering and spaying is a surgical procedure
    that does require general anesthesia, the pet feels nothing
    during the procedure, and the risks are minimal. Certainly
    the benefits far outweigh the risks. There is only a slight
    discomfort and the pet will usually be back on their feet
    with normal activities within 24 to 72 hours.

    ” I don’t have enough money for this procedure.”
    You can’t afford not to do it. Most communities
    have humane shelters and low-cost spay/neuter clinics that
    offer affordable services. Contact your veterinarian, your
    local shelter. It can be much more costly to you if you have
    a pregnant female with pups to take care of, or if you have
    to split the veterinarian bills with your neighbor because
    your male got their female pregnant.

    ” I want to breed my pet…he’s a purebred.”
    Purebred breeding is very complicated. There are
    some things you should ask yourself before you do this. Do
    you have a five-generation pedigree for your pet? Is there
    a minimum of 8 titles (AKC/UKC: Champions, Obedience CD,
    CDX, etc.) in the last three generations? Does your pet have
    a stable temperament? Does your pet fit the breed standard?
    Are your pet and prospective mate healthy? Is your pet certified
    free of genetic diseases? Do you have the time it takes to
    breed? A good breeder will be careful about the animals they
    breed, and will offer to take your pet back if it does not
    work out.

    ” I can make some extra money selling the puppies/kittens.”
    Breeding dogs and cats isn’t always a money making
    experience. There are the veterinary bills, shots, food,
    and advertising costs. There is also the time spent caring
    for the puppies and kittens and showing them to prospective
    owners. Don’t forget the temptation to keep “just one” that
    often happens with the first litter. What if the pregnancy
    puts the mother in medical danger that causes her to suffer
    or even die — can you put a price on the loss of a pet?
    Also, for every heat cycle a female goes through, her odds
    of having medical problems later multiplies by ten. By the
    time the puppies or kittens are sold, has a significant amount
    of money really been made?

    ” My male cat/dog will be kept indoors away
    from any females.”
    Male pets will smell females in heat and many have
    been known to escape their homes to reach the female.

    ” I want my male dog to be a guard dog and I
    need to keep him aggressive.”
    Most pets will be more reliable and responsible
    after neutering and are often easier to train because of
    stabilized hormones. What makes a dog a good guard dog is
    training, not hormones.

    ” My kids need to learn about the birds and
    the bees – I want them to see the birth process.”
    Children can experience the birthing process in
    other ways rather than at the expense of the family pet.


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